‘You either live or die as a DJ in Nigeria’, Major Lazer producer DJ Diplo says


American superstar EDM producer DJ, and member of the Major Lazer duo.Diplo talked on his DJing experience in Nigeria among other things.

Members of Major Lazer (Diplo and Walshy Fire) with Burna Boy and Davido.  Members of Major Lazer (Diplo and Walshy Fire) with Burna Boy and Davido.



Diplo was on a mission to familiarize himself with the Nigerian music scene which in his words is a burgeoning one.

He also had his eyes set on collaborating with the popular Nigerian artists – Davido, Burna Boy among others.

Diplo and Walshy Fire pose with the Nigerian police (Instagram/diplo)

Speaking with GQ style magazine, the DJ talked about foregoing attending the Coachella festival which was meant to have earned him a ton of cash.

Diplo had earlier been warned by Jamaican artists Shaggy and Sean Paul about Nigeria – suggesting it was a dangerous place to be, but Diplo chose to look on the positive side of the Nigerian culture.

Diplo waves the Nigerian flag on stage at the Gidi Fest 2017 (Instagram/diplo)

Acknowledging  their contribution to emerging global music, Diplo was not about  to ignore the black nation’s relevance.

Nigerians live everywhere: England, L.A., New York. Nigerians have had a huge impact on music in the last ten years. Like the UK funky stuff that ended up becoming “One Dance” by Drake. And then, over the last three or four years, Nigerians have been taking over with this new Afro-pop movement.” Diplo said.

” It’s almost like Lagos is the Atlanta of Africa,  the music scene is amazing because they have pop stations—you’re gonna hear Bieber and Katy Perry. Then they have all the hip-hop and R&B—“Bad and Boujee” was a hit in Lagos before America.

  Diplo hanging out with Tanzania’s Vanessa Mdee at a beach in Lagos (Instagram/diplo)

Then they have all the Nigerian stuff—the Afro-pop like Davido, Wizkid, Mr Eazi. And then they also have legacy stuff, like Fela Kuti and Femi Kuti, palm-wine music, and highlife. It’s crazy,” the DJ  added.

On his Gidi Fest 2017 set, Diplo said it reminded him of his first time in Jamaica and how they knew him by one particular song – in the Lagos case ‘Run up’ was the plug.

Speaking more about his experience at the show, Diplo said:

” It was a weird kind of success.  I was headlining this outdoor festival in Lagos that happens every year, but there was a crazy thunderstorm. We didn’t start until 2 A.M. It turns out the sound had blown out, but nobody told me. So I start my set and I was playing records and, like, dancing. I look up and there are all these Nigerian faces just staring at me.

 I had to banter onstage for half an hour [while they fixed the sound]. By then there were probably 500 people left. But I was just like, You know what? It’s 3 A.M. and there’s a thunderstorm in Nigeria. What do I have to lose? It was one of the hardest moments of my career.

I said to [Major Lazer MC] Walshy Fire, Man, Nigeria is where you either live or die as a DJ. This is like the DJ Olympics.”

Diplo and Burna Boy in Lagos  Diplo and Burna Boy in Lagos



Then he also talked about getting high with Burna Boy and Davido on the night and partying at a nightclub into the next day until 8 A.M.

Before leaving, Diplo also talked about working with Ekelly on a remix for Eazi’s ‘Leg over’.

Before I left, I was like, Hey, this is an idea for a song. I gave him the stems—the music for the beat. Then I land and he’s already sent me three demo versions with new drums.”

He also recognized Skales’ version of his ‘Run up’ joint and the energy put into the song.

Explaining why he he chose Africa over making millions from his scheduled at Coachella, Diplo says ” I don’t even know how to answer that. I feel like it’s a no-brainer. Coachella, Vegas, all those things are gonna be there. Touring Africa is something you have to work towards. That’s why I became a DJ. That’s why I even wanted to make music, so I could do things like go to Africa and perform. I’d rather invest in experiences like this, rather than putting it back into my own ego.”

Diplo will be returning to Africa again and this time he would be no stranger.